In the Hebrew Scripture, there is a story about a man named Job.
The authorship of Job is highly questioned in theological circles; debated whether it is a metaphorical story to talk about the nature of God versus a literal one. However, the point of the Book of Job is poignant.
It challenges us to look at life as more than just “God rewards the good and punishes the bad.”
Job is a wealthy man living in a land called Uz with his large family and extensive flocks. He is “blameless” and “upright,” always careful to avoid doing evil (1:1). One day, “Satan” aka “The Adversary” appears before God in heaven. God boasts to Satan about Job’s goodness, but Satan argues that Job is only good because God has blessed him abundantly. Satan challenges God that, if given permission to punish the man, Job will turn and curse God. God allows Satan to torment Job to test this bold claim, but he forbids Satan to take Job’s life in the process.
In the course of one day, Job receives four messages, each bearing separate news that his:
- AND ten children have all died due to invaders or natural catastrophes
Job tears his clothes and shaves his head in mourning, but he still blesses God in his prayers. Satan appears in heaven again, and God grants him another chance to test Job and this time Job is afflicted with horrible skin sores.
Job’s wife, being the amazing support system that she is, gives Job some counsel,
“Curse God, and die.” (Job 2:9).
“Her words may be an euphemism for suicide, or they may imagine Job so angering God that a lightning bolt will come and put him out of his misery. Whatever her words intend, they suggest an end to the rage and refusal.”
Her counsel to him is to “Just go on and get it over with!”
That is not really an option for Job; thus, he does not take the path of least resistance.
He does as we’ve discussed this week. He throws himself full into the pain . . . he sits with it, he holds it. He claims he does not understand. The silence is both painful and golden.
The book of Job ends with Job’s fortune being restored, but no mention is made of his being healed of his disease. He is given back the blessing of having family and friends, each of whom brought him a gold ring and money. He experiences the birth of new family and basically life continues in a new way and all is perceived to be well.
Job ends with Job “babbling” on about things beyond him that he did not understand. He came to a place of reconciliation with the Spirit of God.
We can too, despite the dark circumstances. Sometimes, it does take, however, our screaming out, “NO!”
42 1-6 Job answered God:
“I’m convinced: You can do anything and everything.
Nothing and no one can upset your plans.
You asked, ‘Who is this muddying the water,
ignorantly confusing the issue, second-guessing my purposes?’
I admit it. I was the one. I babbled on about things far beyond me,
made small talk about wonders way over my head.
You told me, ‘Listen, and let me do the talking.
Let me ask the questions. You give the answers.’
I admit I once lived by rumors of you;
now I have it all firsthand—from my own eyes and ears!
I’m sorry—forgive me. I’ll never do that again, I promise!
I’ll never again live on crusts of hearsay, crumbs of rumor.”
Thoughts to Ponder:
- Have you ever had anyone encourage you to give up?
- How did you overcome that bleak encouragement?
- Have you ever had anyone encourage you to suffer through the trials, knowing that the dark things would not win?
- If so, what kept you going forward? What was the sustaining peace?
 McLaren, Brian. Naked Spirituality: A Life with God in 12 Simple Words. HarperOne. 1989.